March 7/Chicago/Press Release -- The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) announced the selection of Christie A. Tarantino, FASAE, CAE, as the new IFT executive vice president. Tarantino, the current president and CEO of the Association Forum of Chicagoland, will lead IFT efforts to advance the science of food to ensure a safe and abundant food supply.

In her new role, she will oversee a wide array of IFT programs that serve 18,000 members and the food science and technology professions. This will include: the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo, knowledge and learning programs, marketing communications campaigns, membership, partnerships, publications, science and policy initiatives, Feeding Tomorrow: the Foundation of IFT, and a variety of other programs.

Tarantino brings more than 17 years of association management experience to IFT, including noteworthy leadership positions at two major membership associations. In her current position leading the Association Forum of Chicagoland, she launched a variety of programs designed to increase membership impacting more than 1,600 associations throughout the Chicago area.
Prior to her role at Association Forum, she served as the executive director of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), which has 35,000 members and 62 chapters. Tarantino also gained extensive experience in convention management as the associate vice president of Member Relations at the Professional Convention Management Association, and as membership services director with the Alabama State Bar Association.

A graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery, Tarantino earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and her master’s of public administration. She is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the Professional Convention Management Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, and the Illinois Society of Association Executives. She is also a board member of the Partnership to Educate and Advance Kids (PEAK), a non-profit organization that provides scholarships and mentors for at-risk children in the Chicago area.
“Christie Tarantino brings impressive credentials in association management and strategy to IFT, and her experience will be critical in advancing programs for our members and the food science and technology professions,” said IFT president Janet E. Collins, PhD, RD, CFS. “She joins IFT at a very exciting time, as we approach our 75th anniversary in June, and we know that with her excellent qualifications she will ensure the ongoing success of our organization for years to come.”

“Food scientists and technologists play such a critical role in ensuring that we have safe and healthy food today, and their role will become even more important in the future,” said Tarantino. “I am truly looking forward to the opportunity to work closely with IFT leaders, the staff and the entire membership to develop a strong collaborative partnership that builds on the many successes of IFT.”    

Tarantino will officially assume her new position as the executive vice president of IFT on April 21, 2014.